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Hundreds of IBEW Local Union 98 members gather in support of Philadelphia 76ers' proposed arena

IBEW Local Union 98 shows support for proposed 76ers arena in Center City
IBEW Local Union 98 shows support for proposed 76ers arena in Center City 02:31

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Union members gathered Monday night in support of the Philadelphia 76ers' proposed arena in Center City. 

Several hundred members of IBEW Local Union 98 gathered at their Navy Yard office in support of 76 Place – the Sixers' proposed arena complex on East Market Street

"You're talking thousands of construction jobs, you're talking about maintenance jobs; afterwards, you're talking about putting people to work in the actual venues," Mark Lynch, a business manager at IBEW, said.  

According to the 76ers Development Corporation, the $1.55 billion project represents 9,100 construction jobs, 1,000 permanent jobs and $400 million in annual economic output for the city. 

"It will be the largest construction project in the history of Philadelphia," David Adelman, the CEO of 76 DevCorp, said. 

Adelman says while he has heard criticism about the proposal from community groups and event and concession leaders, the benefits for the city go beyond basketball. 

"How is it possible that on Market East, two blocks from City Hall, you have vacant retail on the south side of the street? We need to get people excited about the fact they could have the experience after work, before a game, a concert or a family event and postgame," Adelman said.  

Unite Here Local 274, which represents Aramark workers in the stadium complex, has called the long-term jobs "seasonal," saying "all that does is create more poverty jobs." 

Meanwhile, Bishop Dwayne Royster, the executive director of POWER Interfaith and member of the Save Chinatown Coalition said:  "Developers' promises are window dressing to make the enrichment of three billionaires easier to swallow. We will not become a thriving city with part-time and seasonal arena jobs that perpetuate an ongoing African American underclass." 

Last month, the NAACP Philadelphia branch said it will back the 76ers' plans for the new arena and called it a "significant opportunity for individuals in underserved communities."

The Sixers have not received approval from the city to start building the arena, and the independent impact study has yet to be released

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